CBD is becoming a popular remedy for a wide range of issues, including common skin disorders like acne.
Acne affects millions of people worldwide. Some figures suggest that the condition affects as many as 9.4% of the global population. Furthermore, acne does not just affect the skin. It can have a severe negative impact on patients’ self-image and confidence, in some cases leading to anxiety and depression. Even once the acne itself has cleared, some patients are left with scarring, which acts as a lifelong reminder.
Unfortunately, many acne treatments are harsh on the skin or cause other unpleasant side effects. Therefore, many people are turning to natural remedies like CBD for acne relief.
So, what do you need to know before you try CBD for acne? Let’s take a look.
What Causes Acne?
People most often associate acne with teenagers, and hormonal changes can indeed be a factor. However, acne can persist into adulthood, and some people experience it for the first time in their 20s or 30s.
The root cause of acne is actually blocked sebaceous glands in the skin. The role of the sebaceous glands is to release a substance called sebum. This is a mixture of lipids (fats), and scientists believe it plays a role in protecting the skin.
However, in some people, the skin produces too much sebum, and this clogs up the glands. When the sebaceous glands become blocked, dead skin cells and bacteria build up inside. This triggers an inflammatory response, which makes the skin red, swollen, and sore.
Although many people believe that diet plays a role in the development of acne, there is little evidence to support this theory.
Does CBD Help Acne?
Research has shown that CBD could help to relieve acne in several different ways. Firstly, it appears to reduce sebum production in the skin. Secondly, it helps prevent the overgrowth of cells that could clog up the sebaceous glands. Finally, it has potent anti-inflammatory properties, meaning it could relieve symptoms such as redness and pain.
If you are thinking this all sounds too good to be true; you are probably not alone. So how exactly does CBD work for acne? Let’s take a look at the science.
CBD for Acne: How Does It Work?
As you may know, CBD comes from cannabis or hemp. It exerts many of its effects on the body by interacting with something known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is present in most of the body’s tissues. It has a regulatory function, meaning that it maintains a state of balance within the body at all times.
The ECS is involved in everything from movement to mood. It also plays an essential role in maintaining the health of the skin.
The Endocannabinoid System and Skin Health
In the skin, the ECS is responsible for controlling cell development and growth. It also plays a role in inflammation and hormone production. Scientists believe that dysregulation of the ECS could contribute to many common skin disorders. These include psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, scleroderma, and some forms of skin cancer.
The ECS works by producing chemicals known as endocannabinoids. These can bind with receptors called cannabinoid receptors to trigger numerous different biological reactions. It just so happens that cannabis compounds such as THC and CBD can also bind with these receptors to have similar effects.
The CB1 receptors that are most prevalent in the brain and nervous system react dramatically with THC. This reaction creates the psychedelic ‘high’ for which marijuana is most famous. However, the CB2 receptors that are most prevalent in peripheral tissues react more strongly with CBD. This includes the CB2 receptors in the skin.
When CBD acts on these CB2 receptors, it helps to regulate the ECS in the skin. The CB2 receptors are also where CBD has most of its anti-inflammatory effects. However, CBD also acts outside of the ECS, further enhancing its impact on acne.
How CBD Works Outside of the ECS
As well as acting on the ECS, CBD works on something known as TRP channels. TRP stands for ‘transient receptor potential,’ and these channels play an important role in sensory perception, including pain.
It also appears that TRP channels interact with CBD to contribute to its anti-acne effects. Scientists think that this reaction stops the overgrowth (proliferation) of sebum-producing cells known as sebocytes.
Finally, CBD could have an inhibitory effect on lipid-producing (lipogenic) compounds. These compounds include testosterone and a chemical called linoleic acid. It is this triple-action (anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferation, anti-lipogenic) that makes CBD so promising in the battle against acne.
Things to Know Before You Try CBD for Acne
If you suffer from acne and are thinking about trying CBD, there are a few things you need to know first.
Probably the most crucial factor to consider is how you will take your CBD. Traditionally, people use CBD in an oil form. They place a drop or two under the tongue and wait for it to dissolve for 30–60 seconds, then swallow.
You can also buy CBD in the form of capsules or edibles like gummies. The problem with taking CBD by mouth is that it has to pass through your digestive system and liver before it reaches your skin. This means that a lot of it gets lost along the way.
Therefore, it may be better to apply your CBD directly to the skin itself. You could either use a standard CBD oil or choose a CBD topical that is designed especially for the skin. Topical products often contain a range of other soothing ingredients in addition to the CBD.
However, if you have acne, you may want to stay away from any products that are too thick or greasy. These could block your glands further and end up making your symptoms worse.
You should also be cautious when using a new CBD product for the first time. Although most people consider CBD safe, there is always a small risk of side effects.
If you take CBD by mouth, it could cause tiredness, stomach upsets, or changes in appetite. CBD can also interact with many other drugs and medications. These include antidepressants and macrolides, a class of antibiotics that doctors sometimes prescribe for acne.
You minimize the risk of these side effects and interactions when you apply CBD directly to the skin. Even so, you should exercise caution and try it on a small area first. Watch out for any reactions such as swelling, itching, or peeling skin. If you experience these symptoms, discontinue treatment immediately.
Choosing a CBD for Acne Cream
Another thing that you should be aware of when buying CBD for acne is that the market is currently unregulated. This lack of regulation means that many companies get away with selling low-quality CBD. Some products do not contain as much CBD as they should, and others contain contaminants like pesticides or other toxins.
When choosing a CBD cream for acne, look for a company that is well-established with plenty of positive customer reviews. Most reputable brands publish third-party lab reports on their websites, so you can be confident about exactly what is in your cream.
You might also want to consider whether your CBD is full-spectrum or isolate, and how the manufacturers extracted it. There are many ways to extract CBD from hemp or cannabis, and most experts consider CO2 extraction the best.
Finally, don’t get sucked in by prices that are way below average. High-quality CBD is expensive, but you can view it as an investment in your health. On the plus side, you should only need to use a small amount of CBD each day. Therefore, your products should last for a while.
CBD for Acne: Final Thoughts
CBD may be useful for a variety of skin conditions, including acne. It has the potential to reduce inflammation, decrease sebum production, and stop the overgrowth of cells.
Furthermore, CBD is a natural remedy that works in harmony with the body. As such, it should not cause the irritating side effects that traditional acne treatments can.
However, there are a few things to consider before trying CBD for acne. Firstly, you will need to find a product that is high-quality and suitable for your skin.
You should also note that most of the existing research on CBD for acne has been done in labs. Studies on real, human subjects are still sadly lacking. Therefore, there is no guarantee that CBD will work for your acne, but it may be worth a go.
Finally, talk to your family physician or dermatologist before trying CBD for acne. This is especially important if you use any other medication or topical treatments. They will ensure that CBD is safe for you and won’t make matters worse in the long run.